Orchids and onions

• ORCHID: To Lordstown High School and 15 students, who will head to Des Moines soon for hands-on educational experiences of volunteering for candidates in the Iowa caucuses. The students will go door to door and make phone calls to convince voters to back their preferred candidates, and then go to a caucus location to see who gets the state’s backing in the Democratic race. The experience is a wonderful lesson in how America’s voting system and our democracy works. That’s a lesson students just can’t fully learn and appreciate in a classroom.

• ORCHID: To excavators and engineers still doing work on the culvert below the new Lakeview Drive, built in Kinsman last fall. Trustees tell us a new concrete barrier being added will help with the outflow of water through the culverts so water discharging does not wash out the stones below the road. We are glad to see the necessary work isn’t being delayed, despite cold weather, now that the road — washed away by flooding last summer — has been reconstructed.

• ONION: To former Trumbull County Planning Commission Director Trish Nuskievicz for appealing her firing that came after she was off the job for more than a year, including several months on unpaid leave. Nuskievicz went on leave after writing a letter to the planning commission detailing what she perceived as bullying by county engineer Randy Smith, for whom she did not work and to whom she did not report. A $42,000 investigation found no concrete determinations about Nuskievicz’s claims against Smith. In October, the planning commission board made a decision to end its relationship with Nuskievicz, but now the former director is appealing her firing — an action that will cost the county $185 per hour in legal fees going forward. Sometimes it’s just best to move on.

• ORCHID: To participants and organizers in the weekly “Chess is Life” program held at Eastwood Mall in Niles, as well as Southern Park Mall in Boardman, aimed at teaching children important life skills — along with the game of chess. Chess is Life, an acronym for Cognitive, High-level, Enhancement of Successful Strategies Inspiring Students in Long-Term Intrinsic Focus on the Endgame, teaches kids patience, concentration and accepting mistakes and losing when playing chess.